What is an infrared sauna?
Where traditional saunas use water, steam, or heat, infrared saunas do not heat the surrounding air. Instead, they use infrared lamps that penetrate the skin directly to warm the body.
The infrared panels are used instead of conventional heat to easily penetrate human tissue, heating up your body before heating up the air.
An infrared sauna operates at a lower temperature (usually between 120˚F and 140˚F) than a traditional sauna, which is typically between 150˚F and 180˚F.
Manufacturers of infrared saunas claim that only about 20 percent of the heat goes to heat the air, and the other 80 percent directly heats your body.
Infrared sauna users say the heat penetrates your body tissue more deeply than warmed up air, which allows you to experience a more intense sweat while avoiding dangerous temperatures.
Infrared saunas allow you to stay in the sauna for longer times as the heat is more bearable, but it still increases your core body temperature by up to three degrees.
The supposed benefits of using an infrared sauna are similar to those experienced with a traditional sauna. These include:
- Joint pain relief
- Clear and tighter skin
- Better blood circulation
- Chronic fatigue relief
- Better sleep
- weight loss
- Muscle recovery
Since ancient times, people have used saunas to treat a variety of health issues. While traditional saunas have been the subject of numerous studies, infrared saunas have received less attention:
People with chronic fatigue syndrome benefited from using an infrared sauna as part of their overall treatment, according to small 10-person research.
Infrared saunas were proven to reduce muscular discomfort and speed up recovery after strength-training sessions in a separate 10-person trial.
Several studies have found that infrared light treatment saunas may help lower blood pressure, according to one study.
Because there is little conclusive proof and less research on the potential health advantages of infrared saunas, it is up to you, the consumer, to evaluate the claims made by the businesses that offer this service.
Similarly, there are little reports of negative effects so far, beyond the cautions about any sauna experience. These include the possibilities of overheating, dehydrating, and medication side effects, as well as the potential dangers for those who are pregnant, have heart disease, or are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, among others.
The good news: Even if your sweat session doesn’t do all the things it claims to do, at least it still feels good. Plus, it contributes to your overall health and well-being by helping you relax, loosening up stiff or tight muscles, reducing joint pain, and giving you some needed time to yourself.
A lot of people will have infrared sauna treatments at a health club, spa, or doctor’s office, but some will also buy one and make one at home. It’s crucial to understand that infrared saunas don’t come with general instructions if you decide to check one out.
Although there are recommendations you can adhere to, how you utilize an infrared sauna is ultimately up to you. Here are some pointers to help you get going.
Ingest water. Before entering an infrared sauna, make sure you are properly hydrated. Before your session, sip on some water. Additionally, if you’re sensitive to greater temperatures, you can bring water into the sauna.
Decide on a temperature. An infrared sauna typically has a temperature between 100 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit, with more seasoned users starting at the lower end. Start at 100 F if this is your first time. This temperature can be appropriate for several sessions. Each session, the temperature can be raised until you reach 150 F.
Period of time. Start with 10 to 15 minutes for new users. Up until the recommended time of 20 to 30 minutes, you can increase the length of each session. Make careful you set the timer that comes with the sauna. Avoid spending too much time inside to avoid dehydration.
Clothing. You get to choose how you look. While some people like to enter the water naked, others will wear bathing suits.
What to do in the sauna. Unwind, read, practice meditation, enjoy music, or chat with friends. Simply avoid falling asleep.
After the session is over. When your session is done, it’s suggested that you take your time and let your body cool down. Once cooled down, feel free to take a shower or bath. Just make sure you are drinking plenty of water.
Number of sessions per week. Most facilities that offer infrared sauna treatments recommend using the sauna three to four days per week. If you are healthy and tolerate the four days, you can use the sauna daily.
There are a few things you should know before indulging in your first session.
- Avoid using an infrared sauna if you’ve been drinking alcohol.
- If you feel ill or have a fever, it’s best to wait to use the sauna until you’re feeling better.
- You’ll sweat a lot when using an infrared sauna, so you might feel dizzy when you stand up. If this occurs, be sure to stand up gradually and sit down as soon as you exit the sauna. After your workout, sip on some water as you wait for your body to cool down before doing anything else.
- Dehydration or overheating (including heat exhaustion and heat stroke) may occur in rare circumstances for some persons.
- Before your first session, acquire your doctor’s approval if you have any health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart issues, or are receiving medical treatment. You don’t want to take any chances when it comes to your health and safety, even though infrared saunas have been determined to be rather safe.